The Great £350 Million Trick (or how to create £11 B from £3 B without really trying)

So why did the Vote Leave team stick with the £350 Million?  It was such a big lie that even though they got away with it, it still seems like a huge credibility risk to take.  Well here’s one possible explanation.

Who said Norway?

To understand why, you have to understand that it’s very likely the Vote Leave team were aiming for a Norway type EU arrangement (of course now events have gotten away from us and we are heading for a hard Brexit but that’s a different issue).  And of course Norway makes an EU contribution.

Note: there is also significant feeling that much of Leave’s Leadership did not actually want or expect to win, based on their reaction following the vote and their silence afterwards.

Norway’s net contribution per head is about the same as ours at about £96 per person, so we’d be paying about the same if we exit. As pointed out in this Telegraph column, there’s not a lot of wiggle room if we “go Norway”.  Surely if we “Brexited” and ended up paying the same as we do now, there’d be uproar.

However the key word there is “net”.  Here is one possible explanation.


“We got the Norway model” explanation version 1 & 2

So lets say everything went to plan and Vote Leave had switched us to  the Norway model. We still have dollar-163473_1280to make a contribution and the only material difference is Norway doesn’t pay into the Common Agricultural Policy fund, whereas we do.  We’ve only really gained the difference between what we pay into the CAP (£6B) and what we get back (£3B) assuming everything else stays equal, as we’d have to carry on paying the £3B to Farmers (as already promised by Vote Leave)

So how do you pitch our new EU contribution?

Great news, we’re now in the Norway model, rather than paying £8.5 Billion Net we now pay £5.5 Billion Net, its a great victory.  By the way we’ll now pay the £3B directly to the farmers as we are no longer getting cash from CAP so its still around £8.5 Billion in total….but its still great

Not very compelling.  But if you include the rebate, that we never paid, and never will pay, and highlight “getting our money back” whilst forgetting that we now have to pay our CAP fund directly, it becomes:

Great news, we’re now in the Norway model, rather than paying £18 Billion we now only pay £7 Billion, we’ve taken control of over £11 Billion of our money, its a great victory!

And there you have it,  push the £350 million a week into everyone’s heads which then turns into £135 million a week post Brexit. A £3B net saving is turned into an £11B “windfall” and no one really complains about paying it because it looks like a massive saving.

Go Team!  The problem is of course, they overplayed the immigrant card and other cards and now Norway is no longer acceptable.  Still, it was fiendishly clever.


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